Protecting your copyright online: Building a case

It is not always easy to fight copyright infringement, but it is possible. As a business owner, your copyrights are vital to the continued success of your business. You don't want to see other people using your products or creating copies of your products without being penalized or without getting permission from you directly.

For someone who works online, it's a little easier to document suspected copyright and to pursue a claim against someone who has violated your copyright. Here's what you should do to collect evidence for your claim.

Grabbing a screenshot

To start with, you will need to get a screenshot of the offending page, product or material as it is online. You should write down the website's name and download the source code when you're on the page. It is a good idea to see if the website has been saved in Archive.org, as well, so you know there is always a copy available to you or others.

Any screenshot taken has to meet requirements to get used in court. You should remember which browser you used to take the screenshot and also take down the version of the browser used. You'll then need to include the date you accessed the information.

Finding out the first date of use

Another helpful piece of information is when the content was used online for the first time. You can check how long the website has been online along with the date the article or information was published. This gives a court an estimate on how much time your copyright has been infringed upon, so it can dictate how the other party should pay for damages.

With the first date of use, information about monetization also helps. When someone makes money off your products, it's more serious than if he or she made no money and caused you no real monetary damages. Monetization through ads count, as do sales and other profit-making schemes.

If someone is making money off your content, it's within your rights to stop the party. The above are just a few pieces of information you'll need to have if you want to take your case to court. With good evidence including screenshots, archived information, monetization documentation and dates of use, you can make a strong case in court and help protect your own interests and copyrights. A solid case needs to have evidence from a variety of sources, so collect as much as you can.

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